Monochrome Mondays

Ireland just seems to be about light and color. Of course the first thing one thinks of is the heavy abundance of green…which is everywhere. But does green always have to be green? As I became more comfortable taking photographs, I started thinking about context, especially in relation to monochrome. I still feel that monochrome is the heart and soul of photography. There is a natural essence to it. Perhaps it is because you need to imagine the colors you see before you in a black and white photo. You obviously know that a variety of colors comprise the shot, but in the best ones, you somehow do not mind. Your see the art and starkness of the scene that color often does not represent as well. You feel the terrain before you in a landscape shot in monochrome. You sense the noise and movement before you in a cityscape shot in monochrome. You feel a connection to the person in a portrait shot in monochrome.

As with a lot of my other photographs, I often take them in both mediums to cover myself. Color photography is still wonderful and I probably take more shots in color than monochrome (though the equation is maybe 60/40 now!) Using this method in time I have figured out certain photos I know will only work best in monochrome. Such was the case with this photo taken last summer in Donegal. A random field in a sloping valley, dotted with the occasional house or sheep. It was an overcast morning when I took this, but at one point the sun started peeking through. Up to that point I had been taking color shots of the lush green fields, but once I turned and saw the light beams shining down, I instinctively adjusted the camera for monochrome, and this is the result.

Do you see ‘the colors’ in a monochrome shot?

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All Photographs By Robert P. Doyle


10 thoughts on “Monochrome Mondays

  1. I do see the colours, but I prefer monochrome! The heavens seem to be shining down there. You know, I never think of the colours when I see monochrome. I feel they would interfere. The soul of the picture comes through better when there are no colours to distract you. That’s how I feel, anyway.

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    1. Great observation! I think because it was Ireland, and everyone knows that green just dominates all around you that it seemed like an interesting idea. As I said, I often take photos in both mediums to see what the end result may look like. In a city scene I think it is not as critical. You don’t ‘need’ to see the color. But in a landscape, and not just in my own photos, I wonder if people think of the colors that actually present. It is interesting because when I look at Ansel Adams’ great photos of the American West, I do not think about that. Maybe because I have a connection with my own photos I wondered what others think.

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      1. I suppose colours are important for skies – which is my favourite thing to look at. I don’t care much for landscapes or anything “natural”. Much prefer cityscapes, like that picture of a car rushing you posted the other day. You’re right, the city seems especially beautiful through monochrome while nature needs colours, I suppose. I’m no artist, so all that I just said might be total rubbish!

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      2. I love skies and cloud patterns too. Because I am in a city, I have become adept at cityscapes, but I wish I had better access to nature and natural shots I suppose. Not in terms of blogging or social media, just in general I would prefer to be out in nature more. Lets face it, monochrome works for everything, because it is the origins and essence of photography as an art form. So it feels right to utilize it. As I said in the post though, my work seems to be creeping up to 50/50 now! And unlike some professional or semi professional photographers, not every shot I take is taken with the view of it being art. When I’m on vacation, sometimes I just want quick photos of a place. I don’t sit there and go through settings and focus on the light or what have you…just point and click essentially.

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      3. Thank you Amrita! I really appreciate what you say and for the encouragement too. Sometimes when my spirits are lagging, and the weather becomes unpleasant here, my photography seems to suffer. But then I go to Rockaway Beach, or Coney Island, or just shake up the routine and I get inspired once again. Thank you!

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